Annika Debuts Ochoa Headlines in Mexico

By Associated PressMarch 9, 2006, 5:00 pm
HUIXQUILUCAN, Mexico -- Annika Sorenstam makes her season debut Friday at a place where she feels right at home. The gallery, however, will also have its eyes on someone else.
 
Lorena Ochoa, the first Mexican to win on the LPGA Tour, struggled early at last year's MasterCard Classic but rallied to finish fifth.
 
'I think last year in this tournament I learned more than I did in three years on tour,' Ochoa said.
 
The former University of Arizona star won the Wegmans Rochester LPGA in June and is one of only two players to finish in the top five at both LPGA tournaments this season. The Guadalajara golfer won three times in her first three full seasons on the tour.
 
Sorenstam has won three of her last four season openers, and she will be making her second straight season debut at this tournament.
 
'This is a great start to the season. I've got good memories,' said Sorenstam, who enjoyed a three-stroke victory over Karrie Webb last year. 'I'm happy to be back here and I don't feel any extra pressure.'
 
The title in Mexico is one of 10 the Swede will defend this year. She has 21 victories worldwide and three major championships the past two years.
 
Joo Mi Kim won the season-opening SBS Open at Oahu, Hawaii, and Meena Lee won a week later at Kapolei, Hawaii. Lee will be looking to make it two straight at the MasterCard Classic.
 
Sorenstam doesn't dwell on her intimidating presence.
 
'I really don't walk around thinking, 'What are the other players thinking?'' she said. 'I try to mind my own business, do what I've got to do. I set some high and really lofty goals, but that's what keeps me going.'
 
In February, the first women's rankings put Sorenstam at No. 1.
 
'I think for the future it's going to give us good measurements on the performance of everybody around the world,' Sorenstam said. 'It's really tough to compare the money list, especially with the purses being different.'
 
The 35-year-old Swede is chasing a record many thought out of reach: 88 career LPGA victories by Kathy Whitworth. Sorenstam has 66.
 
'I've always felt like that was so difficult to achieve,' she said. 'I mean 88 wins, if you think about it for a minute, it's just amazing. But I'm a lot further than I thought I would be.'
 
Last year's MasterCard Classic marked the LPGA's first Mexican event since the Bing Crosby International, which was played in 1974 and 1975 in Guadalajara.
 
There was another tour stop in Mexico a year ago, with Carin Koch winning the Corona Morelia Championship in April, an event Sorenstam skipped. The LPGA will head back to Morelia in October.
 
Because of the hilly terrain Bosque Real Country Club and long distances between holes, players and caddies will be allowed to use carts for the first time in tour history.
 
The tournament will be played at an altitude of 7,400 feet. That will afford sweeping, though smog-shrouded, views of western Mexico City. But it also promises to send balls soaring. Sorenstam said shots will carry 15 percent farther, making consistency with irons more important.
 
'It's a course that's a lot hillier than we play throughout the year. It's also a course where the elevation makes a big difference,' she said. 'So you have a few more things to really think about.'
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm